Much is made of the necessity of a ‘winning mentality’ in sport, but it’s not always as simple as refusing to admit defeat.
Liverpool’s England goal-getter Daniel Sturridge opts for a complimentary, nurturing approach to his teammates, even been-there-done-that legends such as Steven Gerrard:
“I’ve grown up with Jordan Henderson in international age groups, Raheem Sterling is like a little brother and I’m very close to him, Glen Johnson is a top-class player and then there’s James Bond…Stevie has got the lot, hasn’t he?”
The Anfield club will need all their brotherly love and more if they’re to keep up their title-tilt by landing odds of 17/10 about a victory at the home of bitter rivals Manchester United.
Nevertheless, with Liverpool six points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea with a game in hand their approach to sustaining the triumphant trend may be better than that employed by Borussia Dortmund.
Sebastian Kehl sent out this recent message of deluded defiance, with his side 20 points behind Bundesliga leaders FC Bayern:
“Bayern plays this year in a different league…but we will not raise the white flag”.
It’s easy to see where he gets it from, with oddball boss Jurgen Klopp having this to say of their latest away win against Freiburg.
“Those who win these kind of games become champions.”
Evidence that denial is in the winning DNA traverses sporting boundaries too, although George Groves’ (who was stopped in his first bout with Carl Froch) effort may, in fairness, be down to memory loss sustained in the line of duty.
“Carl Froch knows he cannot beat me.”
Never admitting defeat is the most popular manifestation of denial in the ‘winning’ psyche, but it’s also worth keeping how facile your triumphs have felt submerged deep in the unconscious, as Ally McCoist revealed after Rangers won Scottish League One with eight games to spare, saying:
“It hasn’t been easy”
Hasn’t been easy? They’ve only dropped four points all season long!
Maybe ‘Coisty’ should spare a thought for the kind of things fellow former ‘Scottish’ international Matt Elliott, now managing Thai Premier League outfit Army United, has to deal with:
“It’s not an irregular thing to turn up to training and see 250 soldiers with machine guns and rocket launchers on their shoulders parading where we should be running around trying to hone our football skills.”